POWER Digest

Second Nuclear Unit in Northeast China Begins Operation. The second nuclear unit at the Hongyanhe plant (Hongyanhe-2) in northeast China’s Liaoning Province entered commercial operation on Feb. 25. Construction of the CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor began in 2008. The first unit, Hongyanhe-1, began operating in June 2013 and was the first to be built in northeast China. The plant, which incorporates a seawater desalination plant that produces 10,080 cubic meters of potable water a day, is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co., a joint venture of China Nuclear Power Co. (45%), China Power Investment Corp. (45%), and Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Co. (10%). According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Power Reactor Information System database, China has 28 reactors under construction and 21 in operation. Nuclear generation made up a sparse 2.11% share of the country’s total power production in 2013, however.

Phase 2 of London Array Scrapped. Developers of the $2.9 billion London Array—the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, which opened in July 2013 in the UK’s Outer Thames Estuary—have nixed development of the project’s 370-MW second phase. When initiated in 2001, the two-phase project was proposed to comprise 1 GW of total capacity. But following the opening of the 175-turbine, 630-MW first phase, the project consortium of DONG Energy, E.ON, and Masdar on Feb. 20 urged The Crown Estate to terminate the lease agreement for the Phase 2 area. The consortium said constraints on the site had reduced final capacity for Phase 2 to 200 MW and that the project was further hampered by a required waiting period of at least three years to assess the potential impact of the development on birds. “In the absence of any certainty that Phase 2 would be able to proceed, shareholders decided to surrender,” said London Array General Manager Mike O’Hare.

Peterhead CCS Project Gets UK Approval to Proceed with FEED. The UK government on Feb. 24 gave developers Shell and SSE the green light to advance the Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in Aberdeenshire and begin front-end engineering and design (FEED). If the two-year FEED phase is successful and the project garners relevant permits and consents, the project could begin operating commercially by 2020 as the first industrial application of CCS at a gas power plant in the world. The project, which seeks to capture 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide for 10 years with amine postcombustion technology, was shortlisted along with the Drax Group’s 426-MW coal-fired White Rose CCS project as part of the UK government’s CCS commercialization competition.

Ghana to Build 1,560 MW of New, Mostly Coal, Capacity. A Feb. 24 deal between Ghana’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and China’s Shenzhen Energy Group greenlighted a 700-MW coal-fired extension at the 360-MW Sunon Asogli Power Plant. The new $1.4 billion facility will source coal from South Africa. The deal also calls for Shenzhen to establish a new 500-MW plant at Domlemi in the Jomoro District in the Western Region. Ghana’s power demand has soared, and it is on the verge of becoming a net exporter to power-hungry West Africa. The country is also developing the Ghana Gas Project, which seeks to exploit its latent natural gas supplies—estimated at more than nine trillion cubic feet.

FirstEnergy Sells 11 Hydro Plants. Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. on Feb. 12 completed the September 2013–announced sale of 11 hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 527 MW (or 3% of the power generator’s fleet capacity) to Harbor Hydro Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of LS Power Equity Partners II LP, for about $395 million. The sale includes Seneca Pumped Storage (451 MW) in Warren, Pa.; Allegheny Lock & Dam 5 (6 MW) in Schenley, Pa.; Allegheny Lock & Dam 6 (7 MW) in Ford City, Pa.; Lake Lynn (52 MW) in Lake Lynn, Pa.; Millville (3 MW) in Millville, W. Va.; Dam 4 (2 MW) in Shepherdstown, W. Va.; Dam 5 (1.2 MW) in Falling Waters, W.Va.; Warren (750 kW) in Front Royal, Va.; Luray (1.6 MW) in Luray, Va.; and Shenandoah and Newport (860 kW and 1.4 MW, respectively) in Shenandoah, Va.

Doosan Babcock to Deliver Lifetime Support to 7.5 GW of UK Nuclear. Doosan Babcock on Feb. 19 inked a deal to support the operations and lifetime extension services at seven UK Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs) owned by French power company EDF Energy until the end of generation at the stations. The power stations at Dungeness B, Hinkley Point B, Hunterston B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2, and Torness together generate 7,550 MW. EDF awarded the contract to Doosan Babcock after two years of detailed planning.

World Bank Suspends Vote on Inga 3. The World Bank in early February indefinitely postponed a board discussion and scheduled vote to grant $73 million to the Inga 3 hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on concerns that the project would generate power for mining companies in South Africa rather than the DRC’s energy-poor population. The 4.8-GW Inga 3 project is the first $12 billion phase of the giant 40-GW Grand Inga project. The project has been listed as a priority project by the Southern Africa Development Community and the Southern African Power Pool.

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)